Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 503-523

First online:

Intrinsic Ethics Regarding Integrated Assessment Models for Climate Management

  • Erich W. SchienkeAffiliated withScience, Technology, and Society Program, The Pennsylvania State University Email author 
  • , Seth D. BaumAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, The Pennsylvania State University
  • , Nancy TuanaAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Rock Ethics Institute, The Pennsylvania State University
  • , Kenneth J. DavisAffiliated withDepartment of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University
  • , Klaus KellerAffiliated withDepartment of Geosciences, The Pennsylvania State University

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In this essay we develop and argue for the adoption of a more comprehensive model of research ethics than is included within current conceptions of responsible conduct of research (RCR). We argue that our model, which we label the ethical dimensions of scientific research (EDSR), is a more comprehensive approach to encouraging ethically responsible scientific research compared to the currently typically adopted approach in RCR training. This essay focuses on developing a pedagogical approach that enables scientists to better understand and appreciate one important component of this model, what we call intrinsic ethics. Intrinsic ethical issues arise when values and ethical assumptions are embedded within scientific findings and analytical methods. Through a close examination of a case study and its application in teaching, namely, evaluation of climate change integrated assessment models, this paper develops a method and case for including intrinsic ethics within research ethics training to provide scientists with a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of the critical role of values and ethical choices in the production of research outcomes.


Research ethics Intrinsic ethics Integrated assessment models Climate management Ethical dimensions of scientific research (EDSR) Optimal growth models